Swiss watchmaker Zenith has unveiled the new Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Velar Special Edition watch to mark the launch of the new Range Rover Velar during the Geneva International Motor Show this week.
The link may be slightly tenuous, but Zenith presented its working prototype of the first El Primero movement-powered chronograph in 1970. Guess which luxury SUV was launched in the same year? Incidentally, Velar is derived from the Italian velare meaning to veil or to cover.
Legend has it that Range Rover development engineer Geoff Miller used the name as a decoy for registering pre-production Range Rovers. The SUV was christened Range Rover at launch in 1970.
Now, why was it called the ‘El Primero’ at launch? Simply because it was the first automatic chronograph movement capable of recording elapsed times down to one-tenth of a second with its ‘high beat’ oscillator. The Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Velar Special Edition is the second timepiece in a long-term partnership between the two.
The tie-up was announced in September 2016 with the unveiling of the El Primero special edition chronograph. This watch featured Range Rover branding on the dial and the response from watch collectors was mixed, to say the least.
The Velar chronograph is a lot more subtle in terms of branding. This chronograph features a 42mm ceramized aluminum case, a nod to the chassis of the Range Rover. It features a brushed slate grey dial, three chronograph sub-dials and a date indicator at six o’clock.
The burnished copper color-plated, faceted hands and hour markers are coated with SuperLuminova and contrast well with the brushed grey dial. The inner flange of the dial has a tachymeter scale which can be used to measure speed, a common feature of motorsport-inspired chronographs.
An exhibition caseback reveals the high-beat El Primero movement. The rotor has Range Rover and Velar engraved on it, as does the retaining ring of the caseback. The watch is presented with a new co-developed strap; black rubber coated with black-toned perforated calfskin, the same Scottish leather as featured in the interiors of the SUV.